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Briah Handa-Oakley05.05.20237 min read

Coaching for Sales: 5 Essential Tips

Coaching for Sales: 5 Essential Tips

Most sales professionals will not hit quota this year. 

As a matter of fact, according to the latest Salesforce report, 72% of sales professionals don't expect to make 100% of their annual quota.

That isn't too surprising when you consider the economic hardships that have risen over the last few years.

But what separates companies that are continuously failing to hit quota and generate revenue, and those that are learning to adapt through hardships and come out of the economic difficulties stronger comes down to one key factor: Coaching for sales efforts.

That's right.

Companies that invest in sales training are 57% more effective at sales than their competitors.

Sales professionals recognize that they need to make an effort to appear highly confident in their organization's capacity to train salespeople to adapt to the new reality, and this level of confidence is even greater than it was at the height of the pandemic in 2020.


What's in this post?

  1. What is coaching for sales?
  2. What do sales coaches do?
  3. Is sales coaching really important?
  4. 5 essential tips when coaching for sales


What is coaching for sales?

Coaching for sales is a unique form of training that has the potential to unlock the full potential of sales teams.

By leveraging the skills and expertise of experienced sales professionals, coaching can help teams identify areas for improvement and learn new techniques to increase their performance.

Coaching for sales also provides an opportunity for managers to tap into the collective knowledge of their team members in order to develop a customized approach to selling that will maximize return on investment.

When done properly, coaching for sales can be a powerful tool in the hands of managers. It can help teams understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, learn new techniques, and develop strategies to better serve customers.

By providing an opportunity to work closely with experienced sales professionals, coaching can bring out the best in sales teams and help them reach their performance goals.

Want to read what sales coaching examples are in our ultimate guide for L&D professionals? Click here!

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What do sales coaches do?

Sales coaches provide personalized, tailored guidance and strategic coaching on how to improve sales performance. The best sales coaches work with their team members to identify areas of improvement, develop strategies and techniques for achieving goals, and evaluate progress along the way. Sales coaches also help sales representatives stay motivated and focused on the task at hand. It is essential that a coach have strong communication skills and be able to motivate and inspire their team.


Sales coaching vs. sales mentoring

Before diving any deeper into sales coaching, it is important to make the distinction between sales coaching and sales mentoring.

According to Ken State University's Center for Corporate and Professional Development, even though both sales coaching and sales mentoring are professional development opportunities, these training methods' structure and outcomes are quite different.

In a nutshell, mentoring revolves more around advice-giving, while coaching is more focused on helping people develop their own skills and abilities. Sales coaches focus on providing guidance and direction, while mentors are more likely to provide practical advice.


Sales Mentoring  Sales Coaching
  • Sales mentoring is focused more on the sales rep's development. It looks at not just their job function as a sales rep but beyond, taking a more holistic approach to career development.
  • Sales coaching is more performance-driven. It is designed to improve the professional’s on-the-job performance and works toward how they can be more skilled to lead successful conversations with clients, close more deals and drive revenue growth.
  • The agenda of sales mentoring is completely set by the mentee. The mentor usually supports that agenda.
  • As sales coaching is primarily focussing on how to improve the sales rep's skills and performance, good sales coaching agendas are usually designed to meet the specific needs of the coaches.
  • The outcome of a coaching agreement is specific and measurable, showing signs of improvement or positive change in the desired performance area.
  • The outcome of a mentoring relationship can shift and change over time. There is less interest in specific, measurable results or changed behavior and more interest in the overall development of the mentee.


Is sales coaching really important?

On an individual level, sales coaching can boost a sales rep’s performance by an average of 20%.

So it's safe to say, that the future of sales is in coaching and reskilling.

In fact, according to the latest State of Sales Report by Salesforce, 75% of sales professionals are confident in their sales organizations' ability to reskill reps - up from 63% in 2020. And 77% of sales professionals say their company has plans to invest more heavily in sales intelligence tools.


With the right sales coaching program, businesses can create a culture of continuous learning and development. This will enable them to stay ahead of their competition while driving success in meeting goals and objectives. Furthermore, an effective coaching system ensures that sales teams are constantly improving and adapting to changes in the marketplace.

It's important for L&D professionals and heads of sales coaching to understand that effective sales coaching programs should focus on developing key skills such as communication, negotiation, problem-solving, listening, and time management. By providing an appropriate mix of knowledge, guidance, and support, coaches can help their team members to become more successful in their roles – resulting in better customer relationships, higher


5 essential tips when coaching for sales


1. Sales coaching needs to be consistent

Buyer demands are constantly shifting, and to keep up, sales reps need to make sure they are continuously being trained and kept up to date with the new changes.

80% of workers believe regular and frequent training is more important than formal workplace training.

Getting your sales reps in a room once a year and having training sessions doesn't make the cut anymore - if you want your sales teams to be able to lead successful client interactions in a time when buyer demands are rapidly shifting, consistent coaching shouldn't be compromised. It needs to be ongoing.

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2. Acknowledge and reward sales reps

It is important to recognize the efforts and performance of your sales team in order for them to stay motivated. When you acknowledge and reward your sales reps, it gives them a feeling of accomplishment, which leads to better performance.


3. Use role-playing and real-life scenarios

Sales coaching is most effective when it's hands-on and interactive. Role-playing and real-life scenarios can help your team practice new skills and techniques in a safe and supportive environment. This can help build confidence and improve performance when it comes to real-world sales situations.

Furthermore, role-playing and video simulations provide a safe and supportive environment where sales teams can practice and experiment with different sales techniques and conversation techniques without the fear of failure or negative consequences. This can help build confidence and reduce performance anxiety.


4. Sales coaching needs to be available anywhere, anytime

89% of employees want training available anywhere and anytime they need to do their job.

It goes without saying that the world has become rapidly digitalized, influenced heavily by the pandemic, and the learning and development (L&D) space is no exception. Online training is more accessible for employees, provides a broader range of learning topics, and helps lower overall company training costs.

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5. Provide personalized feedback

Feedback is essential in sales coaching, but moreover, personalized feedback is where the true importance lies. It helps every sales rep to understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie, which will help the reps understand their mistakes and corrections quicker.

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AI sales coaching platforms are rapidly becoming popular in the sales world as they can offer a mix-and-match of different learning modalities that includes live and real-time, on-demand, mobile-first learning, interactive experiences, and more.

These platforms are designed to analyze conversations between reps and buyers for insights on how to improve performance. AI-driven guidance systems can provide reps with real-time feedback during conversations and suggest strategies to help close more deals.

Retorio is a startup that provides AI-powered sales coaching to companies globally already. It analyzes conversations, assesses the individual sales reps' approach, and suggests strategies to help them close more sales. Retorio's AI platform can provide insights on how to improve conversation skills such as tone, body language, and pacing.

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Briah Handa-Oakley

Conducting in-depth content strategy at the intersection between artificial intelligence and L&D. I cover emerging technology and the latest advancements in AI technology and ultimately fuse technical knowledge with storytelling skills.